Help with dust collection

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Forum topic by Willowlane posted 01-02-2015 03:21 PM 1259 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14 posts in 1236 days

01-02-2015 03:21 PM

hi! New member looking for some advice. I work out of a small section of my garage. My wood working area is 14×14 with 7’ ceiling. All of my tools use a 2.5” dust port. Router table, bandsaw, miter saw, spindle sander, and table saw. All tools are mobile so I can put them away when not in use. I am currently using a ridgid 14 gallon vac with dust bag and hepa filter. I don’t mind dragging the vac from tool to tool but the cost to keep buying bags is getting expensive. Also It is loud and I don’t feel like it is doing a good job with airborne dust. I want to save up to make a purchase of something to help with the dust in the garage. I am not sure if I want/ need a air filter system or if a real dust collector would help. Live close to grizzly so mainly have looked at what they have. I do have a few limiting factors in my decision.

1. Very uneven floor which makes rolling difficult
2. Low ceilings
3. Not a lot of amps. I have two 20 amp circuits in the garage. But only one circuit is on the side of my woodworking area.
4. All tools have 2.5” connectors, so the 4” hose would need to be reduced at each tool
5. Money

My ridgid vac does fine for cleaning the floor and for bigger dust. But I hate breathing in ll that fine dust. My initial thought was a 1hp grizzly DC with a lower micron bag. Just move the hose from tool to tool. I would like some advice on if it would be an improvement over what I have now or if I would be wasting money.

Thanks for any advice you can give.


13 replies so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19620 posts in 2670 days

#1 posted 01-02-2015 03:47 PM

With power & space limitations, your solutions become more difficult.

Many people successfully use a shop-vac as their primary (only) dust collection.
You can improve it by adding a pre-seperator.
You can choose from many options….
dust deputy cyclone (by Oneida)
Garbage can separator
5-Gallon bucket separator
Shop-made Thein separator

There are MANY variations of the Thein separator…. you can do a search for more info.

Those take care of collecting dust at the source. No DC system gets ALL the dust at the source.
So, that is only a part of the battle….
An ambient air cleaner/filter is the only way to get the fines (most hazardous) out of the air.

BTW: Welcome to LumberJocks….

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Ottacat's profile


476 posts in 1847 days

#2 posted 01-02-2015 03:49 PM

You have a few options:

-get a dust deputy and keep using your shop vac, the dust deputy will save a lot on bags
-get the dc, however I’d recommend a more powerful unit and put 20’ of flex hose on it and leave the dc in one spot and just connect the hose as needed
-even with the dc, use a dust mask where you are creating lots of fine dust
-consider a shop made air filter – even a box fan with a furnace filter on one side removes a lot of airborn dust

Good luck with whatever you decide.

View patrick04's profile


9 posts in 1236 days

#3 posted 01-02-2015 03:59 PM

I’m a beginner too, so I can’t offer any advice on dust collection systems, but I am very interested in dust control and I want to share my experience with Ridgid shop vacs and make a suggestion for monitoring the dust levels in your shop.

I also have a Ridgid shop vac with a HEPA filter and paper bag. From my (not very scientific) testing, it is a very good system that filters out virtually all particles down to 0.5 microns (and possibly smaller, but my measurement device only goes down to 0.5 microns). The reason I know this is that I put a laser particle counter in the exhaust flow from the shop vac to count the number of particles coming out, and the number approaches zero, compared to many thousands of particles in the air inside my house. In this regard, my Ridgid shop vac setup is as good as my $900 Miele HEPA vacuum cleaner (a household vacuum cleaner).

Whatever you end up doing for your dust collection system, I would suggest getting a laser particle counter to monitor the air quality in your shop. You could do some measurements now and then remeasure after you install your new dust collection system to see if it’s effective at removing the very fine particles.

I have one of the Dylos air quality monitors. When I bought mine a few years ago, they were by far the best value for a laser particle counter. They even make one with a computer interface for real-time data collection and analysis (Dylos DC1100 PRO Laser Particle Counter with Computer Interface).

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4984 posts in 2489 days

#4 posted 01-02-2015 04:12 PM

I agree the power limitations and space makes things a lot more difficult. I guess I have 2 pieces of input. the first would be to build a pre-seperator for your vac, I suggest the Thein (do a search). It’s works as well as anything and is a hell of a lot less expensive. The second would be to plan on a DC in the future, but don’t be put off by those puny ports on your tools. For good DC you need to move a LOT of air, the only way you can do that is with the larger ports and ducting. So upsizing those ports to at least 4” (bigger is better if you have a DC that can handle it). By “good DC” I mean capturing as much of the dust as possible at the source. One other thing, screaming shop vacs are really bad for your hearing, but the quieter models can be awfully expensive. Consider putting the vac in a box with some sound baffling to help mute the noise (a little).

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Willowlane's profile


14 posts in 1236 days

#5 posted 01-02-2015 07:32 PM

Thank you all for your reply’s. I appriciated the advice. I think for now I am gong to go with a dust deputy or some other seperator. It seems it would work as well as the bags but not cost as much in the long run.

View Bill1974's profile


124 posts in 2980 days

#6 posted 01-02-2015 08:04 PM

I am in a similar situation.

A separator before the shop vac will help a lot in the bag dept. A dust deputy or the clearvue mini CV06. they both work really well. I took the bag out of the ridgid shop vac and just use a hepa filter and almost nothing goes in the shop vac.

But there is always a decent amount of dust in the air. If I am doing sanding or really anything else that creates fine dust that the vac doesn’t capture I use a hepa (p100) respirator. I really should use the respirator more often, there is a noticeable difference wearing it. Get one that is comfortable, you end up using it much more often. And it really the only surefire way to protect yourself.

To get a similar quality of air to breath without a respirator is difficult and very expensive. A shop vac and/or dust collector really are just to keep the shop area clean.

When i need to clean the garage I put on the respirator, open the garage door and start up the leaf blower and give everything a good going over. I only do this before applying finishes or if the dust has gotten out of hand. A lot quicker than vacuuming everything.

View NormG's profile


6111 posts in 2999 days

#7 posted 01-02-2015 09:01 PM

Dust Deputy will be a great enhancement for your shop

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View WOODIE1's profile


117 posts in 2274 days

#8 posted 01-02-2015 09:09 PM

Just went through this and honestly with the smaller 2.5 ports I would stick with the shop vac. I have a HD shop vac and it has some serious power. I hate recommending the Oneida as I think for what it costs it is a cheap 5 gallon bucket but it works amazing.

For saws I would stick with the shopvac and dust deputy it really is a bulletproof combo and your filter will be a non issue.

I upgraded to DC and with the smaller ports the DC isn’t as efficient as the above combo. It is better with the planer tough. Save your money, wish I did. Then again once you upgrade it will be a wash.

View joey502's profile


535 posts in 1513 days

#9 posted 01-03-2015 06:53 AM

A dust deputy would solve a lot of problems for you. The dust will not go into the vac at all, unless you forget to empty the bucket. With all of the dust/ chips going into the bucket you will not see a drop in suction.

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

346 posts in 2457 days

#10 posted 01-03-2015 02:01 PM

A dust deputy, and reuse your shop vac bags. I cut one side, then glue, folder over and clamp the next small section. You can do this a bunch of times before the bag is too small to use.

View Crank50's profile


173 posts in 1572 days

#11 posted 01-03-2015 07:20 PM

A separator before the vac, like the Dust Deputy or similar, will help a lot.
For the airborn dust, first check that the HEPA filter is well sealed. Then you can make an air filter using a salvage furnace fan, or even a 20” box fan, and adding filters to it.

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2282 days

#12 posted 01-03-2015 08:49 PM

I’ll likely get some flak for this, but most of the dust comes from sanding. Miter saws come a close second. I use this on my miter saw.

Most 5 inch ROS come with dust collection bags which work fine, I also supplement with the same shopvac you use. If you put the hose at 1-2 oclock to your work it will catch the fine dust that escapes the sander.

I have the table saw and planer hooked to a Harbor Frieght DC system.

Dust is something most of us just have to deal with though, I personally don’t care about the fine dust that much, it’s just a job hazard. You can make a box with furnace filter input and a motor/impeller to draw the air through the filter, but I’ve found that just opening both garage doors in good weather works better to clear the air.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2966 days

#13 posted 01-05-2015 01:15 AM

Russell, nothing wrong with that miter saw setup. They are one of the hardest tools to collect dust from because they throw it so many directions.

My ROS is a Ridgid and my Ridgid shop vac hose just snaps right on in the same place the little dust bag attaches. Very clean with the vac attached, but not too bad with just the littl bag by itself.

I use a HF 2 HP DC also, and connect it to my table saw, band saw, jointer, or disk or belt sanders as needed. Most everything else is connected to a shop vac.

I gathered the OP had a small shop and was most concerned about space so i never mentioned the big DC.

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